Oil on canvas; 81,6 x 100,6 cm; 1935-1936; in moma (Ger., Eng.) since 1940. In an article for the catalogue of the 1964 exhibition of the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hannover* the director of the moma says that it possibly was Paul ÉLUARD (Ger., Eng.), who brought Richard OELZE to his (BARR’s, Ger., Eng.) attention for the exhibitionFantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism” in New York 1936. Fortunate circumstances allowed the moma to buy the picture in 1940, and “… so far as I know OELZE’s painting, Expectation, is exceptional, perhaps unique.”
Who is OELZE?
I stumbled upon Richard OELZE (1900-1980) (Ger., Eng.) in a book** about Worpswede (Ger., Eng.) – but he is far from being ein Worpsweder (interesting exhibition here). He certainly does not belong to this “group” – if there ever was one after WWI -, basically he belongs to no one except himself. When he finally came to Worpswede, with 46, he was unknown to the German public; and this would have stayed this way, if he had not re-located circa 16 years later to the town of Hameln, where he came to know Wieland SCHMIED (Ger., outdated), the man who organized the first large exhibition of OELZE’s works in Germany, mentioned above. Before  WWII OELZE was recognized especially by the French critics, and his “Erwartung” already hung in the moma by 1940; the French critic Marcel BRION (Ger., Eng.) wrote a special analysis of the picture – there was no reaction in Germany, and after 16 years in Worpswede and basically no support by the official authorities of Bremen or Lower-Saxony, the move towards Hameln must have been a kind of  redemption.

OELZE was a disciple of the Bauhaus from 1921 to 1925, lived from 1926 to 1929 in Dresden, 1930/31 in Ascona and 1931/32 in Berlin. He was aware of and took part in all the developments of the 1920s and 1930s in Germany and Europe. The main decisive years for him were the years in Paris from 1032 to 1936, where he came in contact with the surrealists, BRETON, DALI, and ELUARD with whom he became friends. From 1937 to 1939 he is on the road again, Swiss, Italy, no place, no home. He came to Worpswede in 1939, but seemingly more or less accidentally. From 1939 to 1945 he served in Hitler’s war; after this and war captivity he had no other place to go to and returns to the hamlet in the moors, to stay there for 16 years. The fact that he had made some friends here, who supported him materially too, surely played a role.
The public recognition comes to him after the 1964 exhibition, and the official cultural Betrieb throws prizes at him.
I personally doubt that he was especially proud of these, but I may be wrong. His oeuvre did not end in the Sixties, he stayed active and productive until the later years. He could be counted to the verschollene Generation I guess. More on this later. As I see it now he has no monography, but I did no serious search.

Erwartung Oelze

* Wieland Schmied (Ed.): Richard Oeltze. Oevre-Katalog 1925-1964, 2.ed. 1964 (Katalog Kestner-Gesellschaft Hannover, 1964/65, 1)

** Albrecht, Herbert: Worpswede. Kunst in der Landschaft, Fischerhude 1981.
ALBRECHT (*1905) is originally an architect; from 1946 to 1953 he teaches at the Staatliche Kunsthochschule Bremen, since then freelance writer. I have no idea whether he’s still alive or what he published in his own Verlag Atelier im Bauernhaus except the cited title.

April macht was er will

I hope you had a nice Easter. Mine was quiet and lazy. I have done virtually nothing. Yes, I drank a bottle of wine and I read a book – Sudelblätter (1987) by Eckhard HENSCHEID (Ger.), he’ll turn seventy this year, oh my … one may be curious whom he’ll insult at this occasion, everybody should have had his fair share over the last forty years – and maybe I thought something together, what one calls thinking nowadays.
My first attempt to reach the library today had to be disrupted, cold winds and  rain ambushed me while on my way, and mindful of the results of a similar raid some weeks ago (headache, running nose and obstinate cough) I thumbed my nose on the demonish squalls and slipped into a supermarket, a superette if this word exists, and bought myself a baguette – HA! There’s something comforting about a French stick.
In case you wonder about the title of this post – it’s a so-called Bauernregel (Ger.) or weather lore (Eng.) describing the notorious unstable weather conditions in April. These Bauernregeln are not old as Adam, as some people wish them to be, strangely, and there is a strong suspicion that at least a part of them was invented by people who simply mocked the whole thing – similar to the brain-bending rhymed elaborates on the Totenbretter (Ger.), vulgo Marterl, that were not romantic expressions of the Volksgeist, but simply scoffs of the local gentry like pastors, teachers and such.
I think it was the  great ethnologist TETSCHE who saved us a wonderful specimen from darkest lethe: Wenn’s im Märzen früh schon dunkelt, die Bäu’rin an der Rübe runkelt.
And there’s nothing to piggyback.

Mops, ewig

I am very sure that I have already mentioned in the course of writing here Ottos Mops. It’s a silly poem (Ger.) by Ernst JANDL (Ger., Eng.) (Here text and JANDL reading, here a nice animated video for illustration). The late great Robert GERNHARDT (Ger., Eng.) (Nachruf dt.) was inspired by Ottos Mops and gave us Annas Gans, Enzenbergers Exeget,  Gittis Hirsch and Gudruns Luchs, read them here.
But can it be translated?
Yes, it can.
signandsight wanted to know and held a competition some years ago. The winner is “Fritz’s Bitch” by Brian MURDOCH (Eng.), runners up were “Prue’s Poodle” by Katy DERBYSHIRE,  “Mao’s Chow” by Walter BARKAN (not sure whether it’s one of his works) and “Doug’s Pug” by Alexander SAGER.

… dada …

“At Lützowufer 13 a dada-exhibition is to be seen. Because we have no other troubles.”
With this sentence Kurt Tucholsky (Ger., Eng.) opens his short newspaper report in the Berliner Tageblatt (Ger., Eng.) from 20th of July 1920. He is not too exited about the Erste internationale Dada-Messe (Ger. only!), hosted by Dada-Marschall George Grosz (Ger., Eng.) (1893-1959), Dadasoph Raoul Hausmann (1886-1971) (Ger., Eng.) and Monteurdada John Heartfield (1891-1968) (Ger., Eng.) from 30th of June until 25th of August 1920 in the gallery of Dr.Burchard.
Tucholsky is no conservative or aggrieved bourgeois: “Ich weiß sehr genau, was die Leute wollen: die Welt ist bunt, sinnlos, prätentiös und intellektuell aufgeplustert. Das wollen sie verhöhnen, aufzeigen, verneinen, zerstören. Darüber ist durchaus zu reden.”
“I know what they want: the world is mindless and senseless, highbrowed and intellectually puffed up. They want to ridicule, show and deny this, destroy. It is worth to be discussed.” But DADA is not shocking anymore in summer 1920.
The exhibition marks the end of DADA Berlin. Of course there is a lawsuit because of defamation of the Reichswehr: Under the ceiling a sculpture by Rudolf Schlichter (Ger., Eng.) was mounted, showing “einen ausgestopften feldgrauen Soldaten mit Offiziersachelstücken und der Maske eines Schweinskopfes unter der Feldmütze” / “a stuffed German soldier of WWI with officer’s epaulets and a pig’s head under the cap”. And because of a map with drawings by George Grosz. The process endet leniently with a monetary penalty. 
Schlichter’s stuffed soldier is forgotten, but Grosz drawings are still worth to be seen. As Tucholsky puts it: “The others scratch. He kills. Other make jokes. He is serious.”

I tried to find pictures of the nine lithographies of Gott mit uns, but to no avail; maybe one has to look at the traders.